Day: December 30, 2011

Tig Notaro, “Good One”

Tig Notaro’s “Good One” wound up on multiple best-of lists in 2011. The CD certainly opens with a bang, as Notaro is brought onstage by good friend Sarah Silverman (how many stand-up comedians can match that starpower in an introduction?), and in less than a minute, Notaro has opened with a short but good one about Chaz Bono. Her slow, deliberate pacing, combined with a dry wit, builds suspense before each misdirect. It works equally as well even when her next line is most predictably direct. And also compounds the impact of repetition. The pauses, meanwhile, allow for some funny...

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Patton Oswalt, “Finest Hour”

Patton Oswalt has reached that level of success where he’s compelled to say up top, “Nothing I’m going to say will live up to that!” to lessen the audience’s expectations. Which doesn’t matter because the opening applause is but one of many breaks during his latest hourlong set, “Finest Hour,” out on Comedy Central Records as a CD (it’s also on video, but the DVD will have to wait until 2012, as Showtime continues to air it on cable over the next couple of months, at least). If 2009’s “My Weakness is Strong” was about Oswalt preparing to become a...

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Jim Norton, “Despicable”

Can you separate the Jim Norton you hear on Opie & Anthony’s radio show from the Jim Norton you see on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show from the Jim Norton you may have read about in either of his best-selling books of essays? Of course. In “Despicable,” Norton’s first CD in years and first release since his 2007 HBO special, “Monster Rain,” you’ll hear that the comedian is just like the guy he describes in his memoirs. Norton reveals himself to be the despicable one in his scenarios, realizing that having a relationship with a woman is more likely to mean...

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Jen Kirkman, “Hail to the Freaks”

Jen Kirkman is the funniest person in Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately circle of comedian friends. By a mile. And then some. Kirkman proves that once again (or if you’re not familiar with her or the E! programming, for the first time) on her sophomore album, “Hail to the Freaks,” (A Special Thing Records). If you didn’t know this was Kirkman’s second stand-up comedy CD, oh, she’ll remind you several times throughout her hourlong set. Not that you needed to have done your homework beforehand. “I’m going to tell you about my life, and there’s a lot to tell,” she says....

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Tommy Johnagin, “Stand Up Comedy 2”

At the outset of Tommy Johnagin‘s second stand-up comedy CD — titled, well, “Stand Up Comedy 2” — the comedian implores upon the audience: “Don’t suck. I’m going to hold up my end. I’m going to need you guys to bring it also.” And bring it he does. Over the course of 14 tracks and 57 minutes, Johnagin may not have put much thought into titling his bits. Or did he? They follow the seemingly ordinary theme set forth by the disc’s overall title, with routines such as “Humorous story about drugs,” “Comedic take on drinking,” “Baby jokes,” and “Skits about...

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